Meeting about design for James/Midler corner

Sent in by Babette Baker regarding the development of the southwest corner of James and Midler (where the Sport Center once stood, where Fifi’s Ice Cream is now):

Information Meeting On the Proposed Kinney Drug Store Project

Monday, August 15th -7pm
James St Methodist Church
3027 James St.
Syracuse, NY

Representatives from the Development and Design Team will be present to answer questions.

Babette Baker
City of Syracuse
Department of Neighborhood and Business Development
(v)  315.448-8173
(c) 315.935-3773
(f) 315.448.8036

It’s very hard, after over 10 years of looking at a pile of rubble at a major intersection in our neighborhood, to project five or ten years down the road and try to imagine what we will have wished we’d done in 2011.  We’re desperate for something clean, nice, and shop-able in that spot. And to be frank, given the number of years that have gone by without a solution, I’m not so sure there really is another solution besides another convenience store (Kinney’s). It’s basically a repetition of stores we already have, and apparently we don’t have enough people in this neighborhood who want anything but their medications and the stuff China ships us. I get that.

But, because I just can’t leave a thought unexpressed, I’d like to go back to this pattern of development that has plagued Syracuse and, apparently, still plagues it: pave paradise and put a parking lot. In a walkable community with lots of free parking along the streets (the side streets, anyway, but that’s another can of worms), why would we need the usual sea of asphalt that these convenience stores demand?  Perhaps you, dear reader, have seen the Walgreens parking lot filled to capacity, and do let me know if you have, but I have not.

So I’d ask that you re-read this article: Other cities series: historic fabric. Ask yourself if it’s true that there is nothing we can do to preserve the historic fabric – the built history – of James Street. Maybe this design will surprise us. Maybe it will adhere to our overlay district guidelines while leaving existing buildings intact.

I deeply appreciate all the hard work that Mr. Marcoccia has put into the development of this corner. He came to us once with a design – for a gas station – that really did not work for us. And he didn’t put us through the years of hell that we experienced with a certain other developer. Instead, he went back to the drawing board, and for that I am deeply grateful.

I am hoping that this new design will be at least closer to what will benefit Eastwood. And if there’s any way, please let not too much more asphalt mar the fabric of our business district. In ten years, when gas is at $7/gallon and we’re walking a lot more, we might wish we’d kept it after all.

12 thoughts on “Meeting about design for James/Midler corner”

  1. I always imagined a nice neighborhood eatery would fit in that space nicely. Maybe something like an Angotti’s “on steroids” with booths, tables and a bar. Or perhaps an Irish Pub/restaurant. Yeah, another pharma-venience store was low on my wish list too.

  2. Well people, you don’t see people knocking down the door to build anything but this type of structure in Eastwood. There simply is not a market for a restaurant or multi-shop building in this location. If it hasn’t happened in 10 years, it won’t happen in another 10. Kinney will provide a decent design (just as Walgreen’s did) and it will improve the look of that corner. Pretty much anything is better than how it looks now, right?

  3. Monday, August 22d. Planning Commission approved special permits for the “Steak & Sunday” Building. Thank you to all who came out in support and to immediate neighbors who requested some site changes. If we weren’t there insisting that the Planning Commission take action, I dont believe they would have acted. Now on to the Common Council for approval. You have my and Councilor Maroun’s support.

  4. First of all, the fact that I’ll Be Dipped (Yes I still call it that) is going to be moved out of that little building is sickening. That IS Eastwood’s ice cream shop. You wanna talk about historic fabric of our neighborhood, and move our communities beloved ice cream shop? Also, how anybody can support ANOTHER convenience store on James in beyond me. We don’t need it, end of story. You’re going to settle for this just because it makes the corner look nice? How about something that people might actually get excited about? We don’t want another drug store, and we don’t want another pizza place that will probably fail. How about a hang out spot like a milk shake bar or something like that? Like an old school type place (Johnny Rockets-esque). I would be pumped if they even considered putting another bowling alley where the old one used to be. How about an indoor soccer and lacrosse field? Since all of the ice skaters were against the indoor fields at Sunnycrest rink, maybe this would be a nice compromise? I would like to see something NEW, and DIFFERENT. Don’t give me “there’s no market for that.” If it’s new and exciting, people will go, and if it’s good, they will keep going. If this Kinney’s thing goes through I will personally stand in the way of any bulldozer trying to destroy I’ll Be Dipped.

  5. You’ll be pleased to know that the ice cream shop will be indoors, at the eastern end of the “Steak & Sundae” building, bigger and better than ever. With seating, and milk shakes, and a place to hang out in the winter. But this means we must all sacrifice, and promise ourselves and our neighbors that we WILL eat ice cream, and that we WILL keep Syracuse money in Syracuse. Can we do both of those things? I do wish we could have a bowling alley there instead of another convenience store. Who’s got the money to put one in there?

  6. Well Tom, get ready to get some bruises because they are building it with you in the way or not. And the “I’ll Be Dipped” building is not exactly a beautiful historic building. I’d call it more a shack than anything else. There will be no historical loss seeing that building go and another asthetically pleasing one go up in it’s place. As I said before, if all those other ideas Tom had haven’t materialized in the last 10 years, there is no way they are going to materialize in the next 10. Build the Kinney, people will go to it, the neighborhood will improve, the area will look much better.

  7. Well Alex, if we are going by your logic why don’t we just go knock down Mothers` Cupboard and put up a CVS, after all that building is hardly a building, more of a shack, and a CVS is much more aesthetically pleasing. When we are done with that, we can put in a Duane Reade in the vacant spot next to Byrne Dairy, because well looking at that empty space is just a total eye sore for our neighborhood. “Build the Kinney, people will go to it, the neighborhood will improve, the area will look much better.” I think if you are expecting our neighborhood to improve, like we are going to have some economic boom just because of ANOTHER drug store, then you are lying to yourself. Everyone I talk to and tell there is going to be a Kinney’s there, they say “Why? There is a Walgreen’s and a Rite Aid down the street.” How can you justify putting in another convenience store by saying that it will make our neighborhood look nicer? I don’t, for one, think it will make our neighborhood look nicer, because 3 drug stores on the same street doesn’t look nice to me. How are you going to settle for something like this just so you have something to look at when you drive by. I probably won’t ever go to the Kinney’s, I haven’t been to the Walgreen’s a single time. I must say though, that parking lot is super pretty, much more aesthetically pleasing than the old building that was there that probably could have been used for something else much more exciting. Seriously just think about all of the other stuff that could go up, it isn’t a stretch to think we could actually have something fun and cool in our neighborhood. But, why would we want to do that when we can have a nice Kinney’s to look at and go to buy our soda and chips and 2 dollar beach toys and water balloons, they might be cheaper at Kinney’s than they are at Walgreen’s. Check out this place, it’s the most popular place to get a burger in NYC, with an hour wait at lunch time, easy.

  8. I am in the process of reading Donald Shoup’s “The High Cost of Free Parking” (actually the author whose discrediting of the ITE’s Trip Generation standards helped us turn the Walgreen traffic study on its head) and can tell you that indeed it is the outdated city parking standards that is driving the type of development that are being proposed. They need to be re-examined to have them compliment the overlay design standards. I could not read shell’s drawings on my touchpad, but I am sure that it is the best damned proposal to come down the planning pike in about oh say 60 years!

  9. I believe they said the ice cream shop will be moved across the street, it’s not like they are going out of business. Mother’s Cupboard is not at a major intersection either. Rip it down, put up the store, something (JOBS) is better than nothing. Sorry but no company like Shake Shack is remotely interested in Eastwood, the common council makes it too business un-friendly to even consider building anywhere in Eastwood, I don’t see this changing anytime soon, you?

  10. How would one who wishes to lease/rent or possibly buy the property at 3001-23 James St (old Steak and Sundae) get in touch with those involved with working on the renovations? Thanks for the help.

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